Study: Air Pollution Linked To Higher Rates Of Depression And Suicide


“The evidence is highly suggestive that air pollution itself increases the risk of adverse mental health outcomes."

Air pollution has been linked to higher rates of depression and suicide in a systematic review of global data, according to The Guardian

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 264 million people have depression, which could cause the findings of this study to carry global implications. 

“We’ve shown that air pollution could be causing substantial harm to our mental health, making the case for cleaning up the air we breathe even more urgent,” said Isobel Braithwaite, at University College London, who led the research. 

“We know that the finest particulates from dirty air can reach the brain via both the bloodstream and the nose, and that air pollution has been implicated in increased [brain] inflammation, damage to nerve cells, and to changes in stress hormone production, which have been linked to poor mental health,” she added. 

The research was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and found a strong statistical link between toxic air and depression and suicide. The research is supported by other studies that linked air pollution with “extremely high mortality” in people with mental disorders and a quadrupled risk of depression in teenagers. 

Meanwhile, a comprehensive global review earlier in 2019 concluded that air pollution is damaging to every organ and almost every cell in the human body. 

While scientists believe that cutting air pollution around the world to the European Union’s legal limit could prevent millions of people from becoming depressed, it is difficult to prove beyond a doubt because ethical experiments cannot deliberately expose people to harm. 

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